Air Zimbabwe Plans Return to London

Air Zimbabwe Plans Return to London

DALLAS – The flag carrier of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe (UM), has announced plans to resume its direct route from the capital city, Harare, to London in the UK. 

The news was shared by Felix Mohna, minister of transportation and infrastructure development of the country, which The Herald, a Zimbabwean publication, has recently interviewed.

Minister Mohna stated, “I am glad to explain that the Government has got a very good policy with regard to air transport. We would also like to resuscitate our London route because we very much want to revive our western routes in line with our re-engagement policy”.

Air Zimbabwe entered the blacklist of the European Aviation Safety Organization (EASA) in May 2017, which prohibited the airline from continuing with its plans to resume this intercontinental route. 

“It was an issue of some payment arrears to IATA, which the Government has since cleared, so we are now connected to the international communication systems and we are now able to fly to international destinations,” added Mohna.

This debt with IATA raised to an enormous quantity of US$1.4m. Now, the airline seems to have arranged this situation and is now proceeding with its expansion outside of Zimbabwe, which includes the addition of a new Embraer ERJ-145 to the fleet and the upgrade of the terminal at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in Harare, at the cost of US$153m.

The airline’s long-haul fleet consists of one 32-year-old Boeing 767-200ER, grounded currently at the capital airport, which range is sufficient to operate the HRE-London flights. However, the airline also owns two ex-Malaysia Airlines (MH) Boeing 777-200ERs, which may finally be activated for this purpose.

Air Zimbabwe now operates a new Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft, which currently serves short-haul routes such as Harare to Johannesburg (JNB). Photo: Air Zimbabwe.

About Air Zimbabwe

Air Zimbabwe is the national flag carrier of Zimbabwe, a not-so-known country located in the southern region of Africa. Its primary role is to connect the capital city, Harare, with close cities in and out of the country, but now it is also looking further expanding its network thanks to the ban lift to operate in Europe.

The carrier is one of the few airlines worldwide that regularly flies the old Boeing 737-200 series. There is still one unit serving the airline, registered as Z-WPA, which is 36.3 years old and has been flying with UM since its delivery in 1986, except for two separate occasions when this aircraft was transferred to both Uganda Airlines (UR) and Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (TM).

Today, its route network consists of just five destinations: Bulawayo (BUQ), Dar Es Salaam (DAR), Harare (HRE), Johannesburg (JNB), and Victoria Falls (VFA). In 2020, Air Zimbabwe took delivery of two second-handed Boeing 777-200ERs from Malaysia Airlines, which have yet to make a single flight since then but maybe the ones replacing their aging Boeing 767-200ER and operating the upcoming London route.

Featured Image: Air Zimbabwe

Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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